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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING

Monday, Jan. 5, 10 a.m. EST -- Spending on construction projects was likely

unchanged in November, after a small 0.1% gain in October. That's the median

forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill

Companies. Housing increased slightly, offsetting some weakness in the

public-works sector.

FACTORY INVENTORIES

Tuesday, Jan. 6, 10 a.m. EST -- Manufacturing stock levels probably increased

by 0.4% in November, the same advance posted in October. The buildup is

suggested by the 1% jump in factory output in November. Inventories remain lean

when compared to sales, and businesses are trying to bulk up their stockpiles

just to keep up with the current pace of demand.

NEW HOME SALES

Wednesday, Jan. 7, 10 a.m. EST -- New homes likely sold at an annual rate of

800,000 in November. In October, sales slipped by 1.7%, to a 797,000 pace.

Thanks to strong income growth, home-buying enjoyed one of its strongest years

in 1997.

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Wednesday, Jan. 7, 3 p.m. EST -- Consumers probably added about $5 billion in

new debt in November, led by a jump in auto lending. In October, consumers took

on an unexpectedly large $10.7 billion in new installment credit.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Thursday, Jan. 8, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Producer prices of finished goods were

likely unchanged in December, after falling 0.2% in November. Excluding food

and energy, prices probably fell 0.1%, the same drop posted in November.

EMPLOYMENT

Friday, Jan. 9, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Nonfarm payrolls likely rose by 200,000 in

December. That follows November's surge of 404,000, which was twice the

expected number. The jobless rate likely remained at 4.6%.


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